Who’s up for the challenge of bringing a 1000+ page novel with a devoted following to the big screen as a two-ish hour movie?
CBS Films and Warner Brothers are looking for writers and directors up to exactly that challenge to transform Stephen King’s “The Stand” into a feature film.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS Films has held the rights to “The Stand” for years, but opened bidding to get a partner for the ambitious project. Warner Brothers beat out Fox and Sony for the chance to develop the adaptation, which is now out to writers and directors to pitch in upcoming weeks.
“The Stand” was first released in 1978, but contemporary audiences are likely familiar with 1990’s “The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition,” which added more than 300 pages to King’s already weighty tome, which tackles nothing less than primal issues of Good vs. Evil in a post-apocalyptic world.
In this case, the apocalypse is a virulent flu strain known as Captain Trips, which wipes out more than 99 percent of the world’s population. In the aftermath, groups of survivors band together, first in the direction of the mysterious Mother Abigail and then to Colorado to rebuild society.
With dozens of characters and a rather epic sweep, “The Stand” would seem to be a challenging feature project, though George Romero spent a good chunk of the ’80s attempting to do just that. Instead, ABC adapted “The Stand” as a 1994 miniseries written by King and directed by Mick Garris, featuring Rob Lowe, Ed Harris, Molly Ringwald and Gary Sinise in its cast. The book has most recently been adapted as a comic series by Marvel.
Coincidentally, “The Stand” has intersections with King’s equally difficult-to-adapt “Dark Tower” series, which is finally being mounted as a multi-part film-TV-film production courtesy of Universal Pictures and director Ron Howard.